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Flight Deck and Helipad are a type of landing platform to allow certain types of air vehicles to land on a larger support or Mobile Structure type vehicle. Traditionally associated with large naval support vessels since the 20th Century, the Flight Deck and Helipad continued to be used into the modern era.
The Flight Deck is used to aid in the launching and landing of fixed wing and vertical take off (VTOL) type aircraft. Very much like a runway at an airport, it also provides the following; Amenities for launching, elevators used to handle aircraft between deck and hangars, aiding landing of these vehicle types with arrestor cables, and other flight controls allowing them to land safely. Due to its size, vehicles using this particular equipment are essentially limiting the number of turrets and other equipment that would be mounted in the space the flight deck occupies. The flight deck typically occupies 120 meters in length.
The Helipad is a smaller version of the Flight Deck, however it is used for VTOL-type aircraft exclusively. It takes up less space (30 meters) and usually seen on smaller vehicles where room is limited and space is needed for other equipment.
- Availability - The Clans and Inner Sphere and for both Flight Desk & Helipad have a Tech Rating of B/A-A-A.
- Flight Decks and Helipads - May only be mounted on Mobile Structures and Large Naval Support Vehicles.
- Flight Decks on Naval Support Vehicles must have a Template C or larger to be fitted. Each Flight Deck fitted reduces the number of turrets mounted by 3. Each flight deck mounted occupies every 3 hexes of the length of the Main Vehicle, while Mobile Structures require 3 consecutive hexes.
- Helipads - Helipad occupies 1 hex, and reduces the number of turrets on a unit by 1.
- Note: For purposes of simplicity, the flight deck/helipad-equipped vehicle will be referred in following rules as the "Main Vehicle".
- Capabilities - Both Flight Desks and Helipads can launch or receive an aerospace unit up 200 tons every six standard BattleTech game turns. Any Aerospace vehicle type to the tonnage limit may land on the flight deck. This includes fixed wing aircraft landing horizontally or vehicles that can vertically launch and land. The flight deck has arresting cables; this built-in feature allows horizontal landing aircraft, including VSTOL capable vehicles to land without using entire flight deck. A single Flight Deck may accommodate one fix-wing aircraft or four VTOL type aircraft at a time, while a Helipad has room for only one VTOL type aircraft.
- Launch and Recover - When launching from a flight deck, a player must roll a control or piloting roll using the rules for launching and landing with Fighters and Small Craft as written in Total Warfare, however does not require same runway length due to presence of the arresting gear catching the landing vehicle.
- VTOL Units - These units may use a Flight Deck, using same rules as other Aerospace Units.
- Failed Launches and Landings - In the event of a failed launch on a Flight Deck, any damage accrued by the vehicle must be applied to the aft. In a Failed Landing, damage is done to the crashing vehicle and the Main Vehicle. Damage against the Main Vehicle is treated as if it were hit by a successful ramming attack. Damage is applied to from the direction the crashed landing aircraft had came from. A VTOL that receives damage from a failed lift-off/landing applies damage to that is equal of half its tonnage rounded up.
- Failed Launches and Landings (Helipad) use same rules apply to Flight Deck in event of a failed launch and landing with the exception of damage.
- Submerged Flight Decks - If a vehicle equipped with flight deck is submerged, it can not be used.
- Units on Flight Decks/Helipads - A unit which is currently parked on either a flight deck or helipad is considered "on deck". Such units are considered to be unprotected cargo for five turns after arriving. Such units must be assigned hex facing and location on template being used for the flight deck/helipad-equipped vehicle. This is done for assignment of damage in the case the main vehicle carrying the aerospace units come under attack. Should an attack occur and hit hex where the parked vehicle, it will receive full damage according to its facing while parked in that hex.
The Flight Deck and the Helipad were originally introduced in the old FanPro published rule book, Combat Equipment. The two items were originally separately listed, however the later produced Tactical Operations merged them into the same entry in that book.
- Tactical Operations, pp. 312-313,344, 407, "Flight Desk/Helipad"
- Combat Equipment, pp. 122-123, "Flight Deck & Helipad" - Rules regarding roleplaying applied with older game rules.